There has been a lot of discussion surrounding the Columbus Blue Jackets which was set to begin the Mike Babcock era this season. Instead he has resigned his position due to a scandal that enveloped the organization the last week or so.
With this move it meant there was a vacancy so former Jets assistant coach and Manitoba Moose head coach Pascal Vincent has been elevated to head coach in Columbus.
While I’m sure it’s not the way he would have wanted to secure his first NHL head coaching job it is well deserved for a guy who has put in the work in both the Winnipeg and Columbus organizations.
Here was part of the release from the Blue Jackets:
The club also announced that Associate Coach Pascal Vincent has been named head coach and agreed to a two-year contract through the 2024-25 National Hockey League season.
“This was a difficult decision on everyone’s part, but one we felt necessary to ensure our focus remains on the players and the team’s upcoming season,” said Blue Jackets General Manager and Alternate Governor Jarmo Kekalainen. “On behalf of the entire Blue Jackets organization, we want to thank Mike for his hard work and the professionalism he has shown in working together on a plan to step down.”
“Upon reflection, it has become clear that continuing as head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets was going to be too much of a distraction,” said Babcock. “While I’m disappointed to not have had the opportunity to continue the work we’ve begun, I know it’s in the best interest of the organization for me to step away at this time. I wish everyone in the organization well in the upcoming season.”
Vincent, who turns 52 on September 22, joined the Blue Jackets as associate coach in 2021. He spent the previous 10 seasons as a member of the Winnipeg Jets organization, including five as head coach of the American Hockey League’s Manitoba Moose from 2016-21. He compiled a 155-139-31 record in 325 AHL games and was awarded the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL’s Coach of the Year in 2017-18 after guiding the club to a 42-26-8 record with 92 points in 76 games. He was an assistant coach with the Jets under head coaches Claude Noel and Paul Maurice for five seasons from 2011-16.
“Pascal Vincent is an outstanding coach,” said Kekalainen. “He knows our players and organization and is respected by everyone here. He was a strong candidate for our head coaching position several months ago and is in the best position to help us navigate this change as we begin camp and lead our team moving forward.”
The January 9th visit to Winnipeg by Columbus just got a lot more interesting.